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Feast on the Best of LA’s Food & Drink at THE TASTE


The Taste

Last year, the food infatuated of LA glittered and guzzled at the first-ever Food & Wine Presents: Taste of Beverly Hills,” a multi-day event, showcasing the town’s best restaurants and some of eating and drinking’s brightest stars. This year, the team behind that gala (Best Events) has joined with the producers of the “Los Angeles Times’ Celebration of Food & Wine” to throw an unparalleled, city-wide extravaganza of the edible, called simply, The Taste.

The event will take place for four days over Labor Day Weekend, September 2-5, 2011, at nine different locations – from Downtown to Hollywood. Over forty of the city’s top restaurants will be serving unlimited bites of their best dishes, and food celebs like Giada De Laurentiis, Ludo Lefebvre, Michael Voltaggio, Marcel Vigneron and Susan Feniger, and others, will preside over the various parties.

All that delicious food is only half the story, of course, and for those of us who are particularly partial to potables, The Taste promises an abundance of liquid pleasure, too, guided by LA legends of libation, like Julian Cox, Michael Shearin and The Beer Chicks.  Events such as “Paso Robles Pioneers,” “How to Taste Like a Master Sommelier,” “Taco Tequila Tryst,” “Art of Mixing,” and “Navigating a Wine List,” will offer glimpses into the world of professional drinking – and learning how to drink like a professional. Event sponsors include Anchor Distilling Co. and Peroni, Avion and 4 Copas Tequila, Caorunn Gin, Wild Turkey, Campo de Encanto Pisco, VeeV Acai Spirit, Aperol, Cyrus Noble Bourbon, Chopin and Voli Vodka and Don Q Rums. Wineries such as Flowers, Justin, Chalone, Charles Krug, Coppola, Row Eleven, Summerland Winery and Banfi will be pouring unlimited tastes throughout the weekend’s events.

Tickets are available for the entire weekend or by individual event.

New Product Spotlight: Art in the Age RHUBY


Art in the Age RHUBY

From the same people that brought you ROOT and SNAP, they now introduce to you RHUBY. RHUBY will take you back to 1771, with a modern twist. In 1771, Ben Franklin sent John Bartram America’s first rhubarb seeds. Bartram proceeded to make a delicious garden tea with rhubarb, beets, carrots, lemon, petitgrain, cardamom, pink peppercorn, coriander, vanilla, and pure cane sugar. Art in the Age took that recipe and made it into a spirit… and RHUBY was born.

Try this recipe:

Rhuby Rose

  • 2 parts RHUBY
  • 2 parts strawberries
  • dash of rose water
  • club soda


  • Muddle strawberries, RHUBY
    and rose water in a tall glass.
  • Add ice and club soda.

For more information on RHUBY, watch this video and check out their website.

The Story of Art in the Age RHUBY from Art In The Age on Vimeo.

Comments Off on New Product Spotlight: Art in the Age RHUBY 08.30.2011 |

The Cocktail Spirit With Robert Hess: The Black Hawk Cocktail


This week’s installment of The Cocktail Spirit with Robert Hess brought to you by the Small Screen Network brings you the Black Hawk Cocktail. Robert discovered the Black Hawk cocktail in Jones Complete Bar Guide as well as Cocktail DB. According to Robert, the bourbon adds a great backbone for the acid of the lemon and the sweet and complex notes of the sloe gin to mingle. This is surely a classic.”

Black Hawk Cocktail

  • 1 1/4 oz Bitter Truth Sloe Gin
  • 1 1/4 oz Bulleit Bourbon
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice


  • stir with ice
  • strain into a cocktail glass
  • garnish with a cherry

Comments Off on The Cocktail Spirit With Robert Hess: The Black Hawk Cocktail 08.29.2011 |

Manny Hinojosa hosts the Corzo Throwdown at Trump Waikiki


Cocktail Competition Judges Hard at Work

Corzo Throwdown judges hard at work. Photo By Ryan Matsumoto

People have been drinking agave for eons beginning with the ancestors’ witches brew called pulque to the more refined modern tequilas. The traditional ways of harvesting remain the norm, as machete weilding jimadores whittle agave plants down to the pina to begin the roasting and juicing process, while distilling technology continues to modernize the industry. The latest evolution for tequila is its ability to penetrate the luxury spirits market and make fantastic modern cocktails, far from the mixto margaritas and shooters that became synonymous with its name decades earlier.While we should thank the Aztecs for bringing us this agave revolution, we can also hold our glasses high for Manny Hinojosa, the brand ambassador for Cazedores and Corzo tequila, who lives and breathes agave. In Honolulu last week to host and judge the Corzo Throwdown at the Trump Tower Hotel, Hinojosa is intense about Corzo Tequila, and the challenge to create beautiful drinks with it. As one of the newest tequilas launched in ‘04, Corzo came in the ring swinging, with a gorgeous Fabien Baron designed bottle and a unique aging process to ensure some of the smoothest distilled agave delivered to your palate.

Hinojosa says, “This Corzo Throwdown is more than an excuse to get me to Hawaii. It is in its 2nd year. This year the set up is better, the event is bigger, and it is the perfect opportunity to see the best bartender talent in Hawaii create cocktails using Corzo.”

At the Corzo Throwdown at Trump Tower, ten of Oahu’s top bartenders had to compete without knowledge of what they were going to make. After being informed privately that their secret ingredient was blood orange they had ten minutes to search the well stocked “kitchen” for the components to make their drinks, and five minutes to prepare it. The heat was on.

“This format is really fun,” says Sommer Meyer, Regional Sales Manager of Bacardi USA, who owns the Corzo line. “All the mixologists wait in anticipation, and the level of cocktails that come out of this competition really let us see their ability to think on their feet.”

The ten competitors go toe to toe in rounds of two with the judges scoring on nose, palate, balance, ettiquette, and proper use. Judges included Hinojosa, Juan Coronado, Bacardi Brand Master, and Joey Gottesman, Young’s Market Hawaii Mixologist. Gottesman says, “This competition separates the boys from the men. Using the right glass with the right proportion can take your drink from mediocre to amazing.”


Winner Tim Rita with Judges Juan Coronado and Manny Hinojosa and Corzo Models


1st place: Tim Rita, Lewers Lounge, created the Hot Love
2nd place: Dave Newman, Nobu, created the Hinojosa
3rd place: Manny Billegas II, Quinns, created the Candy

Tim Rita won the first place prize of an X-Box with his Hot Love creation that used Corzo anejo in an absinthe essenced cocktail class. Rita explains, “My approach was a perfectly balanced spicy and sweet cocktail that had an appealing color as well.  I used prickly pear puree because mostly for it’s color second for it’s unique tart flavor.  Then I went to tequila’s best friends lime and agave nectar.  And to spice it up fresh jalapeno. Last I wanted to use a spirit of resurgence, Absinthe.  So basically I muddled sliced jalapeños along with all the non-alcoholic ingredients.  Then add the tequila.  Shake and triple strain (my signature move), into a martini glass that I rinsed with the absinthe”

Dave Newman’s Hinojosa cocktail utilized B & B, ginger, pineapple and lime served in a rocks glass and garnished with a blackberry and took second place. He took home a bottle of Corzo Anejo. The only bartender from Kona on the island of Hawaii, Manny Billegas II placed third with his sweet sensation called Candy that married melon, cerrano pepper, cinnamon with Corzo blanco and local made soda. “It was an honor to share the battlefield with these guys.” said Billegas.

“Manny’s drink was refreshing.” Gottesman said, “It finished sweet but that was in the name. I drank it right down.” Manny takes home a bottle of Corzo Reposado. A phone call to Tim Rita revealed his X-Box was proudly on display but unopened.

Comments Off on Manny Hinojosa hosts the Corzo Throwdown at Trump Waikiki 08.24.2011 |

Third Annual Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival Announces Winners


Bacardi Mai Tai Contest Winner

The Third Annual Bacardi Mai Tai Festival was held at the Royal Kona Resort on August 12 and 13th where thirty contenders from Maui, Oahu, Hawaii, Slovakia, Las Vegas, and Seattle vied for the $10,000 cash prize to create the best Mai Tai.  The components of the drink are fourfold: 1. rum based in spirits, 2. juice used as a binder, 3. there is a flavoring component such as orgeat or falernum, 4. finally there is a float, a layer of liquid usually spirit based, most commonly seen in the Mai Tai as a dark rum.There were 6 judges, Mick Fleetwood, Fleetwood on Front Street Restaurant; Sam Choy, Sam Choy Restaurants; Juan Coronado, Bacardi Brand Master; Beach Bum Berry, Rumologist; Manny Hinojosa, Corzo Brand Ambassador; and Chris Teves, Hawaii Beverage Magazine. Judging was determined by presentation, nose, palate, finish, balance, creativity, and true to form, with a total high score of 70 points available.

“It was great seeing all the bartenders representing different regions of the earth, it was an international competition with Hawaii, the mainland states, and Slovakia. The competitors really made it a great competition.” Said Manny Hinojosa.

Bacardi Mai Tai

1st Place Judges Choice: Christina Maffei from Trump International Waikiki created the Ilikea’s Mai Tai

1st Place Peoples Choice: Brice Ginardi from Okolemaluna created the No Ka Oi Mai Tai

Christina Maffei’s mai tai incorporated Bacardi 8, DiSarono Amaretto, Domain de Canton, roasted pineapple puree, and kaffir lime orange syrup into a highball glass topped with a Bacardi pineaple sorbet. Maffei has been with Trump International for 4 years starting in Chicago with 2 years in Waikiki. She says the emphasis in her beverages in Waikiki are liquid artistry, “all fresh ingredients, homemade items such as syrups and mixers, nothing pre made.  We create each and every experience in a glass.”

“Christina’s presentation was beautiful, it made me fall in love with it,” said Coronado, “The cocktail had synergy, as the ice dilutes the sorbet adds to the chill. The aroma on the sorbet was incredible. This cocktail will start a conversation with the consumer.”

Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac will be opening his new restaurant Fleetwood on Front Street Restaurant in a few months, and was at the festival to be a Mai Tai judge. He treated attendees to a few guest stage appearances with Henry Kapono and the Spin Doctors. “The highlight for me was being invited by Gary Hogan and being around such a wonderful social event at The Royal Kona Resort. I loved seeing so many people enjoying themselves. And as such, really, the whole event was enjoyable.  It was my pleasure to be part of it. I felt a sentimental connection to the the Wendy Agustin from Beverly Gannon’s Haliimaile General Store. I liked her presentation of her Mai Tai in a pineapple.”

Comments Off on Third Annual Don the Beachcomber Mai Tai Festival Announces Winners 08.23.2011 |

The Hendrick’s Strawberry Jive Cocktail


The Hendrick's Strawberry Jive


  • 1 and 2/3 oz Hendrick’s Gin
  • 2 basil leaves
  • 4 mint leaves and a mint sprig
  • 2 strawberries
  • 2/3 oz simple syrup
  • 2 dashes fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz fresh orange juice


Muddle the mint, strawberries and basil leaves in the bottom of a mixing glass with the syrup. Add the remaining ingredients–except the mint sprig garnish–and shake well with ice. Strain into an ice filled rocks glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Comments Off on The Hendrick’s Strawberry Jive Cocktail 08.22.2011 |

The Cocktail Spirit With Robert Hess: The French 75


This week’s installment of The Cocktail Spirit with Robert Hess brought to you by the Small Screen Network brings you the French 75. According to Robert Hess, “The French 75 cocktail has been through a few iterations since its humble beginnings during World War I. Currently, the most popular version of this sparkling cocktail is made with gin. Originally, however, it was most likely made with cognac.”

French 75

  • 1 1/2 oz Rémy Martin Cognac
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp. fine sugar


  • shake cognac, lemon juice and sugar with ice
  • strain into a collins glass over ice
  • top with sparkling wine or champagne

Comments Off on The Cocktail Spirit With Robert Hess: The French 75 08.19.2011 |

Bid to Win Batch 1, Barrel 1, Bottle 1 of Dry Fly Bourbon


Dry Fly Distilling Bourbon

The highly anticipated release of Dry Fly Distilling Bourbon Whiskey has come and gone but for about 2 and a half more hours, you have the opportunity to purchase batch 1, barrel 1, bottle one of the 101 proof Washington bourbon. The bottle, which is being sold to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities Spokane and Casting 4 A Cure is currently at $2,225.

From the auction:

BATCH ONE, BARREL ONE, BOTTLE ONE … benefits Ronald McDonald House Charites Spokane

You are bidding for a guaranteed reservation. Bottle pickup and delivery will be handled through Ronald McDonald House Charities Spokane.

This is batch one, barrel one, bottle one, complete with a Certificate of Authenticity, signed by the Master Distillers and highly collectable. The bottle is in mint unopened condition and is full with original contents intact, with the original label. Dry Fly Bourbon Whiskey is made entirely from scratch, with 100 percent Washington ingredients.

Dry Fly Bourbon Whiskey is destined to be the cornerstone of the distillery’s product line. Its bourbon distillery is unique in a number of ways. “The ingredients for our bourbon are quite a bit more expensive than what we use for our wheat whisky, vodka and gin,” Kent Fleishman, Master Distiller said. “And we’re aging the bourbon in 53-gallon full kegs. “ A lot of small distilleries take a short cut to profits by using a smaller barrel for aging. They use quarter kegs—about 12-13 gallons. Kent said that with the smaller barrels, less liquid on more surface area results in faster maturation.

The Master Distillers set out to establish strong relationships with their suppliers from the beginning. “We know every one of our farmers,” Kent said. “There aren’t just brokers on the phone selling us wheat or corn. We go meet them personally and they come to visit us at the distillery.”

Dry Fly Bourbon Whiskey Master Distillers decided to do it at 101 proof. Typical bourbons are 80 proof. At 101 proof there’s 20 percent more alcohol and you get less out of a barrel and Dry Fly is very selective about what goes in those barrels.

For more information on this auction or to bid, click here. Time is running out!

Comments Off on Bid to Win Batch 1, Barrel 1, Bottle 1 of Dry Fly Bourbon 08.16.2011 |

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